(Originally posted on Jul 20, 2021 on the Drishti blog)
You may have seen Drishti’s big news: I have transitioned to Chairman of the Drishti Board and Chief Strategy Officer, while Gary Jackson will be Drishti’s new CEO. This is a change I am very excited about.
Building Drishti over the last five years has been a fascinating, exciting and challenging experience. I have learned so much and grown in so many ways. When I first figured out how large a gap existed in the market and how green the opportunity was, I couldn’t quite believe it myself. In fact, I had to rope in my co-founder Ashish Gupta to help me convince Surekha, my wife (and myself) that this opportunity was real!
We knew we had something on our hands when two major manufacturers, including Raja Shembekar from DENSO, signed up for paid engagements during the very first meeting I had with each of them. This was when Drishti was essentially a 1.5-man company and had, at best, a science project that painted a blurry vision of the future to come. The journey accelerated when CTO and co-founder Krishnendu Chaudhury joined to start sprinkling his magic pixie dust and bring the core neural network technology to life. Together with the founding team members Ananth Uggirala, Ananya H.A., Dave Prager, Devashish Shankar and Sujay Narumanchi, we were off to the races.
Today, I am even more bullish about what we are building than I was in January 2016.
Why? Many of our customers are expanding with Drishti, taking us into new companies and driving enthusiasm for our technology. We continue to recruit and hire the best and brightest minds around the globe. And we’ve exited the pandemic more creative, dedicated and resilient than before it began.
So, why make this change? Why now?
The biggest challenge in front of us is building our vision to scale, helping our large enterprise customers see value faster, and ensuring they benefit significantly from what we do. So, I thought long, as directed by one of Drishti’s three guiding principles I thought about our goal of being THE company in this space, of being a $B organization, and, ultimately, of empowering workers in a slew of industries.
When I first met Gary, his quiet yet confident demeanor stood out. As we talked, it became clear to me that the battle scars and learnings that Gary has from being a five-time CEO will be invaluable to Drishti. That Gary, with his four decades of selling expertise, can take us to the $B company we know we are destined to be. That he is hungry and has an equally ambitious vision for the company. It is these traits that I expect will help anchor Drishti on the next epoch in our growth and history.
I’d be lying if I told you that this decision was an easy one. Drishti is like my kids, Chirag and Pooja. I’ve thought through every bit of what we do at Drishti; spent innumerable nights sorting out the good, the bad and the ugly; painted a vision in a slew of patent applications and, thanks to our team, built a small part of that in our product today. Most importantly, we have a roster of two dozen amazing, household name customers that any startup would kill for.
As my family will attest, there isn’t much else that I have done these past few years! But, over the last several weeks, as I have worked closely with the entire board and consulted with trusted advisers like Ashish Gupta and A16Z’s Martin Casado, I have come to the conclusion that I can accelerate Drishti’s progress by doing what we have done a few times in the past: bringing in serious talent to build on this strong foundation and move the needle in critical areas. It was crystal clear to me that this was the move to make. Now.
Change isn’t easy, but I am fully engaged, willing and ready to do whatever is needed to help Drishti see continued success.
I look forward to continuing to have a blast, getting the message to the world so every manufacturer knows and wants Drishti, and partnering with Gary to solve problems as we build the business.
Onward and upward!